Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen, ★★★★
Written in 1803, published in 1817
This is my grading system
★★★★★ Not to miss, worth re-reading
★★★★ Books that surely have stayed with me.
★★★ Very enjoyable read, recommendable.
★★ Meh. Nothing remarkable.
I bet most of you know Northanger Abbey was written as a satire of the Gothic novels of the times. Catherine, our peculiar heroine, is invited by family friends, the Allans, to go to Bath. There she’ll meet new people, Mr. Tilney among them, and the Thorpe siblings, Isabella and John.
I’m reluctant to tell you more of the plot. Part of why I liked this book so much may have been that I wasn’t familiar with the plot.
I’ve read Pride and Prejudice and Emma, and I did not know what to expect with this other Austen title. I loved it. It may be this is the favorite book of the ‘non Austen fans’, -I’ve made that up. I’m just trying to say that it was faster paced than the other two books, it has delicious quotes, it has a plot (which it’s not something I require books to have, but which I welcome in Austen’s books), and it makes you laugh. It was her first (or one of her first) books, and to me it’s a ‘nice’ story, (if you’ve read the book, you’ll get the joke).
The famous Gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho,The Mysteries of Udolpho, is mentioned, leaving some of us intrigued. I believe a quality of this book is that it’s trying to elevate itself among other books, that so called ‘meta’ ingredient. A book in which ‘books’ are discussed, and in which the protagonist, Catherine, tries to apply her novels knowledge to real life, just to realize that life follows different patterns (not the Gothic rules of literature for sure!)
Jane Austen, you may love her or just like her, but there’s no doubt to me she’s worth reading, any time, any title. I’m definitely up for another title in a few months time!
I almost forgot. Since there’s nothing new I’m going to contribute on Northanger Abbey, I’ll let you know about something as a reader. Most times I pick these classics for my Kindle. This time, I happened to have this copy, a Barnes and Noble edition.a Barnes and Noble edition. I don’t know where I got it, but knowing me, I may not have paid much for it.
It was a soft to the touch paperback. The font was nice, the space in the margins too. It had some footnotes and end of the book notes. I didn’t need them for understanding, but a few of them added and explained things that made my reading more pleasant.
There’s also so many words and ideas that you find here or there, and keep popping everywhere. For example, the word rigamarole or rigmarole, which showed up in the last book I read, Maggot Moon, by Sally Gardner. Or the word phaeton, -a type of carriage, word we got from the myth of Phaethon, the motive of the Rubens’s painting, The Fall of Phaethon, that I was looking at this week.
What’s that Orgullo y prejuicio copy doing here? It’s Pride and Prejudice in Spanish. As you can see, we only capitalize the first letter of each and any title, -book titles included. And if you observe carefully, the spine of most books published in Spain, has the opposite direction than American books.He explains what I’m saying. (And that doesn’t happen with books published in Mexico, though, they follow USA standards, where spines read top to bottom.)
Can you see it in this other picture? When the book in Spanish shows the cover (top book, Los Pazos de Ulloa -capitalized because it’s a proper name, the name of a place-, the title in the spine cannot be read, while the bottom book, A Moveable Feast, has a readable spine with the cover up, as The Devil’s Dictionary (a satirical work by the soldier Ambrose Bierce.)
And while I took this detour from the book, let’s finish this with another curiosity. Punctuation. In English, the commas, quotations, periods, and such, go inside the ,) (such as here.) While in Spanish it’s the opposite too, (like this). Which drives me bananas, since I usually get it wrong in both languages!
That was all I had to say! Thanks for reading, -if you made it this far. See you at the next post.